An international career in Debrecen is also possible – interview with Renáta Szalóki

Renáta Szalóki’s career pathway is a perfect example of how it is possible to build a long-term, international career at Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions without having to quit the company. Renáta joined the organization in autumn 2007, initially working with the HR Debrecen team before she was first appointed Project Coordinator, and later Project Manager in an international team. We chatted with Renáta about her career leading to the TC Core service line.

You are another one of our colleagues working with us since the earliest days. How did you join the company?

Prior to joining the company, I worked as a German language teacher and then I took maternity leave. After having two children, I returned to the labour market. I suspected that I would not be taken back at my old workplace so while raising the children I finished an HR course and then set about looking for work in this field. In Debrecen at that time, all that was known about ITSH was that it was a new, upcoming German corporation. Initially, they weren’t recruiting for HR positions, but later on I had an opportunity to join the HR department, so finally both my qualifications – German language and HR – could be utilized together.

What was the HR department like in the early years, what were your tasks?

At the beginning, there were only a few of us in the team and although I officially started as HR administrator, I was involved in virtually every area of the profession aside from training coordination: I was an administrator, recruiter, and later on Business Partner as well. Thanks to this broad range of HR jobs, I received a thorough grounding in the various service lines of the company.

I look on the development of the internship programme to be closest to my heart. Even then, in the initial years of the company, we tried to help interns build long-term careers within the company.

The change came seven and a half years later. You switched from the back office to the business area.

Yes, even during my time in HR I was able to watch the whole TC Core service line, which was based in Debrecen, develop from nothing. Later on, I was Business Partner of this service line, so I knew the positions and the colleagues there very well. I initially moved across to the service line as Project Coordinator, then later I was promoted to Project Manager. One of my first tasks was coordination of the Savings projects of TC Core. We had to map out where savings could be made and I had to support their implementation and reporting.

What prompted you to switch jobs within the company and how supportive were your managers?

I loved being at HR because I acquired a ton of extremely useful experience, but I missed the international environment. In fact, this was the main reason for my move. The in-house job changeover went extremely smoothly and I felt I received maximum support on the part of my managers. Here at the company, it is in everyone’s interest for every employee to find the job that suits them best and for everyone to be able to fulfil their role.

In what position are you working now?

Currently I am a member of an international team where we are working together with German and Slovak colleagues. In this job, we participate in quarterly and monthly programmes that develop out of projects. Projects like, for example, coordination of the orders of Hungarian and Slovak colleagues. In addition, we draft monthly reports on actually billed services, but we also do other reporting and monitoring activities with the PoP Performance Management TC team for German management. Besides ad hoc tasks, we also take part in compiling new reports or in improving existing reports.

What are the skills and experiences you acquired while working in HR that you are now exploiting to the full?

I think that one of the most important such skills is empathy, which a Project Manager must have. A Project Manager has to work with a great many people and this means working with many different personality types. It is vital to be able to assess in what way it is best to communicate with a given individual: there are some who are most productive when you keep checking in with them, but there are others who need exactly the opposite approach. It is important to find the right wavelength with everyone and an HR staffer also discovers this on a day-to-day basis.

If you had to recommend the company to a job seeker now, what would you tell them about why they should join this company?

I reckon that this is the company, particularly here in Debrecen, that is capable of giving its staff broad-ranging professional knowledge since we have large international clients and our processes are transparent. There are many opportunities to progress here and we have a wide training portfolio. The opportunity to work in home office or hybrid format helps in establishing a balance between work and private life. Furthermore, the team and our managers are extremely supportive, they give 100% backing to colleagues both in professional matters and issues related to private life. And I haven’t even mentioned that at this company, diversity and tolerance are core factors, there is no kind of discrimination whatsoever. I simply couldn’t work in any other environment.